Thursday, August 23, 2012

Rushing to judgment

A wonderful young person I know was in a boatload of trouble earlier this year. My prayers reached high to heaven to spare her a life that was blemished by this seeming error in otherwise superior judgment. And, the preponderance of evidence was circumstantial at best, if not completely non-existent. But, emotions ran high and people rushed to judgment based on exaggerated feelings and social conditioning -- like Pavlovian dogs trained to respond a certain way.

Thank God, Almighty, that the young person was justly treated and fairly dealt with. She can move forward without blemish. But, what of all those who castigated and vilified her -- deeming her guilty without just cause or ample information by which to even formulate a sound moral judgment? What of her stellar character, her otherwise untarnished record, her status as a friend?

Who will they jump on next to inflict their unjust melodrama of Catholic exasperation over the sins of man? Where will be the mercy and justice for them when their actions are misjudged if this is the example of Christian mercy and justice they show for others?

Solid discernment, waiting for the truth to be revealed, having more than just feelings to act upon, knowing how to apply correctly the teachings of our Faith, etc., these are the principles that must be in place before one moves to judge.


Sometimes I wonder how we manage day to day, we Catholics of the practicing sort -- so proud of our knowledge, so inflexible with our mercy. We are not always superior in thought and understanding; we don't always have a right to offer a "Catholic" opinion about a given situation. Oftentimes, we should just keep said opinion to ourselves and linger awhile in conversation with God about our own feelings, and let Him help us sort them out.

For instance, Paul Ryan is taking a beating by the media, and by Catholics, over his response to "smooth over" the Romney reaction to Akin's comments about "legitimate rape". Ryan has been cast by one popular Catholic blogger as a turncoat of Catholic moral principles: not asking the prostitute to repent, but joining him in his sin.

 Hmmm...too harsh?

For sure.

Irresponsible in leading Catholic voters to a wrong conclusion about Ryan's actions?

Absolutely!

Rushing to judgment without the proper information is a dangerous thing. Knowing the teachings that apply to these circumstances is critical before we accuse someone taking on the trade of the prostitute instead of acting in mercy and working with a person in God's time to make him see reason.

If we turn people off to the Romney/Ryan ticket based on emotional response, then we are risking the appearance of hanging out the shingle of endorsement for Obama, who is clearly and undeniably in support of all forms of abortion -- constituting the absolute of intrinsic evil.

I will not stand for "a man with a popular blog" potentially influencing people to make a bad political choice based on a misrepresentation of Catholic moral principles, just like I will not stand for the same emotional knee-jerk reaction that causes good people to make bad moral judgments about other people's actions and involvement in situations.

Sometimes folks, we simply don't know what we don't know, and should reserve judgment and comment.

Well, I have said my piece.

**I am not linking to any articles in this piece because I do not wish to discuss particular issues, just the idea of rushing to moral judgment without first taking time for proper discernment of the consequences involved.**



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